An Alien’s Perspective: Breaking ethnic barriers

Wichita State sees a great influx of international students, and for those of you who arrived in the U.S. and joined WSU this spring, you’re probably still in your honeymoon phase. Either that, or you are slowly starting to transition into the next few phases of being an international student in a new country.

And as you start getting used to the way of life here, you might be more aware of new issues bugging you, whether they are academic or social.

It isn’t uncommon for people to notice social groups that seem to be constructed predominantly of people who share a similar ethnic background. You may have noticed this, or might in fact have a friend group consisting only of people with the same cultural background as you.

It took me a while to notice this when I started out here. My first few roommates were from cultures very different from my Indian culture, and I was lucky enough to get to know a variety of people and ways of life.

So when I walked into certain places and realized immediately that I was clearly a visible minority, it would make me nervous about whether or not I was welcome at that place. There were certain times of specific days that I would avoid some of the common meeting places because I felt unwelcome.

It all went back to the first few times I went into the game room at Wheatshocker Apartments, and I was greeted by pin-drop silence and roughly 40 pairs of eyes on me. The tension in the air was so thick you could cut it like butter. In fact, that might be how I put on five extra pounds. Needless to say, this did no good for my self-confidence.

“Excuse me,” I squeaked as I took off.

It wasn’t until a few months later that I finally mustered the courage to speak to some of the people from the group and realized they were just as confused as I was. We laughed the whole matter off, and that was the end of one of the most awkward chapters of my stay out here.

It is easy to resort to making friends with people you have a lot in common with. And sometimes, this can mean making friends who share your ethnic or cultural background. As an international student, you have the opportunity to meet people and learn about different cultures.

Sure, you might not have much in common with others at first glance, but an awkward first conversation should hardly keep you from forming friendships that could last a lifetime.

An Alien’s Perspective: Getting things right the first time

Thanks to you, I’m back by popular demand. It’s been a good winter for me, given that I got to visit my family for a short while. The semester’s begun and while for many of you it means resuming classes at Wichita State, I realize for some of you, it is your first time at WSU. I dedicate this column to letting you know the few things I learned about WSU after just coming here.

Basketball’s big: A lot of countries aren’t able to support a sports program that can get larger than life. Coming to WSU, I knew it supported a good athletic program. What I didn’t realize was how big basketball is at WSU. As a student, you can easily procure tickets for free from the University. Even if you haven’t watched basketball ever before, make sure you get the tickets in advance and attend the games. Your college schedule will get the better of you before you know it, and attending the games is a crucial bit of the student experience at WSU.

The food is terrible: If you’re new and haven’t heard of the phrase, “freshman fifteen,” you soon will. Very shortly, you will realize that the food served on campus is terrible for you. The protein content is lower than one would like, while the fat and sodium levels go through the roof. In a paranoid world run by a paranoid me, I would arrest you on grounds of being suicidal for eating the food on campus.

If you’re living in the dorms, there’s a shuttle service that goes to Dillons and Wal-Mart frequently. Get your own groceries and start cooking your own healthy food. Don’t make excuses for yourself by saying you have no experience in cooking. The solution to that is simple: watch YouTube videos and grab a copy of The Sunflower on Thursdays.

What’s the worst that could happen? You might end up burning down the dorms. At least you’ll look fabulous from eating healthier when you’re running out of the burning building.

An Alien's Perspective - Welcome Spring 2014

Time management: The education system in the country I come from is different in several ways than the system at WSU. Everyone back home shared the same timetable. We had classes at the same time and went to bed at the same time. So when I came here, I realized that I was inferior at time management. Don’t let that happen to you, and make sure you plan your schedule well in advance and stick to it. It’s one of your most valuable assets.

It’s good to be back, and I wish you the best in your endeavors this semester.

Final Friday shows off Wichita’s culture

Compared to New York and San Francisco, Wichita may seem devoid of culture. But on the last Friday of every month, the city comes alive with vibrant local art.

Ever since it began in April 2009, the Final Friday events take place on the last Friday of every month. The event features a variety of artists- professionals, amateurs and students. During the event, several art galleries, museums, restaurants and retailers participate by opening up to the public and displaying visual artwork like paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations.

“Final Fridays are fun,” said Melinda Sudbrink, a fine arts sophomore at WSU. “It is inexpensive and a good chance to expose yourself to all types and forms of art.”

Since it features several artists, the wide range of artwork appeals to multiple demographics. Apart from benefiting the average art patron, Final Friday is quite important to art students who are seeking avenues to display their work and have their work received by a significantly large audience.

“My experience at Final Friday is very warming,” said Matthew Eames, a Wichita State University graduate. “For a city as expansive as Wichita is, the amount of appreciation for art can be limited. When Final Friday comes around, it’s nice to see how many people come out.”

As a student at WSU, Eames participated in the Final Friday on multiple occasions. He works a studio resident technician at the Carbondale Clay Center in Carbondale, Col.

The hours of operation for different venues may vary. However, all participating venues remain open between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. There is no charge for entry, and some artwork selections may be available for patrons to purchase.

Illustration: Colourblindness

Image

Colour Blindness

Tiger Woods and public speculation

Image

Tiger Woods and public speculation

I was told I had to illustrate for a column in the sports section. I ended up being assigned a story on how Tiger Woods was the best golfer ever. After half an hour of reading through what seemed like a youtube comment from an ardent fan, I was just pissed off by the lack of organization or logical construction in the article. I decided to make fun of the article in stead

Speed Art for the Sunflower

This is the first time I made a speed-art video. This was the cover for the Graduation Guide 2013 published by the student-run newspaper at the Wichita State University. The audio is terrible. I had to pick it off YouTube’s default tracks. Anyway, get started watching it already 🙂
Devices used: Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple iMac.

Kim Jong-Un’s grand nuclear warplan

Image

Kim Jong-Un